Strategic Architectures

“Salvo Competition.” “Third Offset Strategy.” “Air-Sea Battle.” “JAM-GC.”[1] The DoD is brimming with warfighting concepts, often anchored on technologies we have yet to fully develop. Many of the concepts depend on US technological superiority to dominate tactical-level engagements, though they do not necessarily demonstrate how victorious engagements lead to strategic success. While an exploration of…


Ghost Fleet and Airpower

Peter Singer and August Cole’s new novel, Ghost Fleet, has become a critical darling in beltway defense circles. Called “useful fiction” by the authors, its exhaustively-researched details aim to paint a picture of near-future great-power conflict, earning favorable comparisons to Tom Clancy’s Cold War masterpiece Red Storm Rising.

Was the Air War in Libya a Victory?

In 2011, during the heady early days of the Arab Spring, a coalition of a dozen Western and Arab states led by France, Britain, and the United States conducted a seven-month military intervention in Libya that led to the defeat of Muammar Qaddafi’s dictatorial regime. A newly-released study of this campaign describes in detail why…

Nuclear Weapons are No Longer Needed…Right?

May 10th marked my 20th year serving in the US Air Force’s nuclear community. Two decades into the job as a missileer, I have a reasonable understanding of strategic nuclear deterrence. Acknowledging nuclear weapons remain a clear existential threat to America is the first step in understanding the relevance of nuclear deterrence. Bottom line up front-nuclear weapons can kill tens of millions of Americans in a matter of minutes. Nonetheless, a serious and ongoing debate continues about the relevance of nuclear weapons in the 21st Century.

Airpower Nation

Americans love aircraft. They captivate us, from the crowds that throng to airshows to the children in the airport lounge to the toddler whose finely-cut dinner is “flown” noisily into her mouth on Air Fork One. The Union Army saw its first aviation advantage with the balloon corps in 1861, and the Wright Brothers built and flew the first controllable, powered heavier-than-air airplane some forty years later. Since that fateful day in 1903, aircraft and later spacecraft firmly embedded themselves in our national character, as American aviators accomplished a long string of first-ever accomplishments with ever-improving machines, pushing to the absolute limits of aerodynamic flight and beyond.

Innovation in the USAF

The US Army, the US Navy and the US Marine Corps each possess an aviation component to meet their organic requirements, but only the USAF has the full range of offensive, defensive and support capabilities to act in the air, in space and in cyberspace. It carries out five core missions: air and space superiority;…

How to Defeat the Islamic State

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter’s recent remarks on the efficacy of Iraq’s army reflect the fact that, despite years of training by thousands of U.S. and coalition forces, the army has not been able to halt Islamic State aggression. What makes anyone think that a few more months of similar training will yield success?

Airpower’s Dirty Words

No, this isn’t a call for the resurrection of “cranium” and “container” (if they ever really went away). Nor is it a discourse of the pregame compliments shouted at opposing teams by fans of the Eagles or Raiders.  This is a Leading Edge series where we collectively examine those words we airpower advocates employ that…